Boutique gaming PC vendor Maingear launched a brand new full tower PC Monday morning. The
all-steel aluminum-wrapped, steel-skeletoned Shift takes a page from last year's limited-edition Voodoo Omen desktop by rotating the motherboard 90 degrees clockwise, facing the ports you normally find on the back panel up on the top of the system instead. The result, Maingear says, is improved heat management, as the design works with heat's natural tendency to rise.
Regardless of the heat benefits, (we've seen plenty of PCs work just fine with a traditional layout), the result of the rotated motherboard clearly makes an impact on the look and feel of the Shift. With monitor and peripheral cables plugged in to the top and hidden under a removable, vented cover, both the front and the back of the system cut a clean profile.
(More pics and starting price after the jump.)
Inside the system, Maingear has gone with a familiar compartmentalized design, sectioning off the power supply at the bottom of the case. It also features an ever-popular "passive backplane" for the hard drives, which means Maingear lined up the drive power and data cables behind the hard drives, letting you simply slide the drives in and pop them out with out any cable fuss. Each hard drive tray can also accommodate either a single 3.5-inch drive, or a pair of 2.5-inch solid state hard drives.
As impressive as we find the Shift's design, we like the starting price of the system even more. Of course you can load it up with an Intel X58 motherboard and Core i7 Extreme CPU, up to three graphics cards, and even a Xeon CPU later this winter (which Maingear is aiming at Apple's Mac Pro, so heads up, Cupertino). We're sure you'll be able to get the price just as high as you might from any other boutique vendor, but the case stays the same.
With a starting price of $2,199 for a P55-based configuration, even gamers who haven't won the lottery might consider the Shift on the strength of the case alone.